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[captioning made possible by nbc universal] >> can ask not what your country can do for you. chris: which was an easy act to follow for barack obama. but blaming the last guy doesn't last. does explaining bad news get to be too hard to sell. maybe reagan is right, when it is bad, just say this too shall pass. and what do we make of woodstock, is the spirit alive and at stake in obama. trish regan covers wall street. and richard stengel, the editor
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of "time" magazine. kathleen parker is a columnist. and then we have john heilemann. the president seems stalled. he doesn't like gettinged blame. >> when i walked in, we had a $1.3 trillion deficit. >> ronald reagan dealt with almost the same thing trying to get going in the midst of a recession. reagan's downturn started in july of his first year and it took 14 months to get to morning in america. here's reagan at the same point obama is at now. >> we're starting down a road that i believe will lead us out of the economic swamp we've been in. it'll take time for the effective tax rate reductions to be felt in increased savings, and productivity and new jobs. it'll take time for the budget cuts to reduce deficits. the thing to do is to hold to a
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firm steady course. >> here's what is left over from george bush. first the bailouts last fall. the housing bubble. the spending on iraq. but critics say obama's problems are partly his own making. first, a lack of a stiff punch. and now his health care plan that some say could be too big. wike, we're heavily invested in this president, almost a billion dollar in stimulus spending. lots of action already. can he just blame it on the last guy. >> he's beginning to own. that's why we're seeing changes in his upon later -- pap later but the questions people are asking are these changes cyclical or permanent. i think they're permanent. barack obama has to deal with the fact that the economy is
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changing in a transformative way. chris: we could have a period of very high single digit unmoment. up around 8 or 9. >> absolute my. he has to make changes while he's climbing uphill. chris: you cover wall street, what do the brains want him to do about unemployment and the debt numbers. >> the deficit is a huge problem for wall street. wall street is looking at the economy over the next six months. and saying, do you know what? it'll probably recover. that's not as a result of the administration's policies. that's simply because businesses need to build inventory and their wear hows are completely empty. they need to buy things from each other again. that in turn should help the economy. whether or not it really translates into a lower unemployment rate, that could take time. so people feel like what he needs to do is focus on reducing this deficit, because if you have got a huge deficit, it is just going to make it that much
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hardtory climb out from under. >> sometimes it is the deficit. but not in the near term. in the near term, it is stay the course time. doesn't he do what reagan said, patience, we'll get there. >> he wants to blame the bush administration for the problems. while some of these problems he did inherit, the fact is the end of the free fall for the moment is as a result of policies bush did put into place, such as tarp. so obama has failed to i think -- clearly articulate to the public exactly what they have to do and how they have to respond and how it affects them directly. it is too abstract. you cannot hear these big dollar figures over and over again, these deficits, the debt. it is overwhelming. americans are scared to death and he's yet to step forward and do what reagan did and give them confidence in him as a leader who can pull them through. >> reagan had a break. he came in after a long period
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of stagnation. the problem obama faces, we have a pretty recent memory of good fimes. last year, 5% unemployment. isn't that a problem? >> i think it is. also the fact that the economy fell apart so dramatically at the end of the bush administration and it was an administration people had repudiated. like 80% of the country thought we were on the wrong track. that created an opportunity for him. i think kathleen is right though in this sense, that policies, are not message. and what these guys have is a lot of policies and a lot of them, it might be a sensible policy. but what they have not done is articulate a message that explains to people how all of the stuff they're doing fits together. it is this undifferentiated mass of -- auto bailouts, bank bailouts, stimulus. for a lot of people, all of that kind of looks like is give aways to people who are entitled and nothing for me.
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chris: what is obamaism. what is it? what is the message? >> people say, that he doesn't have policies, he has a message. that messaging over and over again but where are are the policies? >> i think people are tired of seeing him on tv. he's there. he says come on, everybody knows this and that. everybody doesn't know anything. they're getting the increasing feeling that washington doesn't know. chris: is there an obamaism, a theme to all of this? >> i think people are getting nervous that he wants to spend, spend at a time when the economy is really struggling to regain its footing. you look at health care for example, that's a real source of angst among a lot of people. if he fails with health care this season going through october, he doesn't get it done this season, what does that have to do with his clout on wall street? what mark does that put on him? >> if he doesn't get it done, it looks like he tried something and it failed.
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i think most of wall street is thinking it is a bad time to change the health care system dramatically. they want to see the economy recover first. chris: if he gets something small, by the end of the year, line a commitment for young people your age to join health care is that a commitment. is that a real principled change in our policy? >> absolutely. absolutely. that is a good thing, because it shows he was able to get something done when -- previous attempts have been made. chris: i think we agree on that one. do we agree something down the milingts middle that is not dramatic. >> absolutely. he needs to put his marker down. if he doesn't get the whole loaf, he needs to say i'm going after it and after it. chris: i know your a fan of pat moynihan. >> i remember him talking about how the clintons are crazy for not taking a step forward on health care. progress is the way we go toward goals we desire.
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and take that step forward and build on it. i think obama is smart enough to know that's the right thing to do if that's all he could get on health care by the end of the year. >> i think he needs to step up and say this is what i decided. i want us to pull back from the massive overhaul. chris: say that to the left and take ton the chin and the liberals in congress. he habit done that yet. what does the mauth throughs meter think if unplamente stays high? we put it to them, 12 regulars. will obama have to revises his tax policy or maybe forget the thing about raising taxes, on those that make more than $250,000. 11 say yes. just one says no. john and kathy with a yes. you first kathleen, if we have high unemployment, nobody will raise taxes on anybody. >> i think that's right. we can't do anything that is not going to stimulate jobs. >> and i think there are two other things that will happen. if it is true we'll get incremental health care, there's
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not a need to raise taxes. if it is true we're not likely to get cap and trade, that's going to take away a big spending thing. obama play not have to take the -- make the choice to not tax the rich. >> the rhetoric is that we will see higher taxes. we'll see higher taxes from the -- for the rich and higher taxes for the middle class to pay for health care. chris: i haven't heard that in the last couple of weeks. what are you talking about, how recently? >> real recently. larry summers talk bogut health care proposals and there's chatter he cannot do this by just taxing the rich. in your own words it is not a big enough base to pay for everything. you're going to have to distribute it among the population at large. that makes folks nervous. if you tax now when people don't have the money and you need them to spend all they can, you're going to run into trouble. >> you're speaking about wall street, look at the bonuses this year. they're going to be going back to what they were two or three
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years ago. wall street is fixated like a baby on its own ends and he cam bained on raising taxes if the wealthy. we elected him because of that. that will be fine even if unemployment goes to 10%. you can't tax the middle class. chris: and wall street would like the bonuses but not the taxes. >> when rick goes populist. something appealing about that. chris: let me ask you a bottom line question. >> $1 hundred million bonuses, you can can be polar. chris: if he gets health care, will it be the only thing he gets done? >> last thing? >> do you think he could do that? >> it is an uphill battle but with this congress, sure. chris: this the last one out. >> he has to push it to the back burner. chris: health care is the last thing. >> i agree with rick, he can't do it. >> i'm with them. chris: it is the 40th anniversary of woodstock.
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could it be important politically. back in the 1950's, graham nash told bryant gum ball that woodstock gave rise to the 1970's and 1980's. >> important work is still going on. the spirit from woodstock still exists today. chris: and gene mccarthy that made his anti-war campaign just the year before woodstock said its influence lived on. >> the people involved in the 60's were changed by it. there's something in their spirit that still has meaning for america. chris: by the time george w. bush was in office, pat buchanan was still seeing the ghost of woodstock. >> i think the people that believe as i do, traditionalists catholics, old school, america first types, we're dying out. i think that the cultural -- culture of the 1960's, its values, i regret to say are prevailing. chris: in the last campaign, john mccain got a big laugh with
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this. >> a few days ago, senator clinton tried to spend $1 million on the woodstock concert museum. my friends. i wasn't there. i'm sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event. i wasee -- i was tied up at the time. but the fact is -- chris: when we come back, we talk about that political legacy. $350,000 kids. one reeked in the rain and it is still with us and scoops and predictions. and these top reporters. be right back.
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>> one, two, three. what are we fighting for? the next stop is vietnam. chris: welcome back that was country joe and the fish 40 years ago at woodstock. here's how huntley brinkley covered it the next night. >> more than 350,000 people, mostly young people showed up to hear the greatest rock groups in the country. >> why did you come? >> to see, the best music in the world, man. >> everything i've seen has been a very together thing. it is -- it is turning people on to a different kind of living from the city. is what is happening out here. >> more than 350,000 people came looking for peace and music. and many said, they learned a lot about themselves. and learned a lot about getting along together and priorities. and for most, that alone makes it all worth while. lem tucker, "nbc news" in
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upstate new york. chris: it was a different era in many ways. what do you make of that and the political impact today? >> what a broad question. i think it is interesting that people can inflate these subcultures. it is convenient i think for conservatives to talk about the woodstock generation. because when woodstock seemed to signify was dropping out and smoking dope and listening to -- chris: the good stuff. >> but not necessarily the conservatives approve of. the things that were politically salient in the 60's were not the kids. the civil rights movement was not driven by dropouts. these were people that were politically engaged on campus that were clean cut. they drove big change in the 60's, not the hippies and so for conservatives, it becomes well the whole 60's generation was the crazy indulgent woodstock
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generation. they conveniently leave out the much more focused and directed political agents of ching that drove a lot of positive and constructive progress. chris: there's nothing more serious than an anti-war meeting back in those days. the one i went to were serious and deadly important. everybody was in ernest. it had a lot to do with making a statement. >> i was a lad during woodstock, but it turned out the counterculture was an anomaly. they felt the country was changing in a big way and what was counterculture would be the main culture and then generation x, they don't embrace those values. the woodstock generation was an anomaly. nobody realized that at the time. chris: do you think that a lot of this was a -- the clintons thought they were riding a wave leading somewhere. with mcgovern for example. there was brains there but there wasn't a majority there,
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kathleen, right? >> no, if you were in it, you thought it was the majority but your vision was clouded. the fact is most people weren't part of the -- the watergate, the watergate generation, the woodstock generation. it reminds me so much of the obama administration. the idea this young people lead the -- leave the city and go to the country and rediscover innocence is not new. every now and then there's some sort of organizing icon principle event. and obama has been that. he's the person, the personification, the same kind of movement. chris: i got a question from trish rage -- regan. and steve schmitt saw what was coming and he said i realized we were running against a continuation of the kennedy campaign, the good part drove obama to the white house. what do you think? >> i don't think that. i think that obama was able to
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harness this new generation of people that actually didn't have so many ties to woodstock. so some of the woodstock generation and the issues of that, were were put aside in favor of these. >> >> they were anti-establishment, anti-to the -- to the bush administration represented that mentality that was sort of part of -- >> it is a new version of that because it wasn't harkinning back to a very -- a very new version with the young people that were -- >> had did say, obama said i'm not going to get into the baby boomer battles, where 9 counterculture and main culture. i'm beyond that. the yucker supporters felt that too. those are not my wars or battles. >> that's why he was able to beat hillary. that's what it came down to, he really engaged the younger people. >> i think they are -- they were not eavent establishment, and in the dropouts.
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the spirit of obama nation, was engaged. much more in the spirit. the people behind kennedy. chris: those people that won the caucus states were the 60's people before. the same people. >> the spiritual inheriters. chris: they were the professors of political scient÷ought of a m as a luxury item,@ you're not alone. a lot of sunroom owners start out feeling that way. but once they begin using them, betterliving owners see their sunrooms in a whole different light. >> we saw it as a luxury item until you start using it and then it's like you know what, we do need that space. >> i thought more it would be like more special occasions,
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not that you would be using it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. >> i thought it would just be maybe a dining room table and chairs, or we'd be out here when we had company. we live out here. >> imagine life without a cell phone, a computer or the internet. it was only just a few years ago that those were considered luxuries not everyone could afford. today, most people couldn't get by without them. in that same way, once you've lived with a betterliving sunroom, it's hard to imagine your home without one. >> if i had never had this room, i would have never known. but to have to do without this space now, i'm not sure that it would make me very happy. >> call or log on for this free information right now. and learn why a betterliving sunroom may be the best investment you can make in your home. it's the perfect place for family, dining, entertaining or just relaxing and enjoying your backyard. call or log on right now and you'll also receive a special savings offer which could save you thousands of dollars
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on a new betterliving sunroom for your home. >> if we would ever have to move from here, i would have another one built because it's just something that we really so much enjoy. >> call or log on for your free information. and don't forget the money saving offer you'll receive simply for calling us right now. if you've always thought of a sunroom as a luxury you couldn't afford, take the time to find out why betterliving owners can't afford to live without one. contact betterliving today and find out about the difference a new sunroom could make in your life. call or log on today. chris: welcome back. trish, tell me something i don't
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know. >> there's consensus on wall street that the economy is beginning to recover. two big issues, unemployment and housing. there was a recent study by deutsche bank that said nearly half of all homeowners that have a mortgage in the u.s. will be underwater, meaning they will owe more than their home is worth by the end of the recession. >> a great sea change. mainstream media, newspapers, and magazines starting to charge for content by the end of the year. chris: we have a show on that next week. >> and for 2016, all is not gloom and doom for the republicans, there's a young rising star in south carolina, a young legislator named nicky haley who is recovering from governor in 22010. she's a conservative and pro-life. picture a ticket with a
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indian-american. >> close the loop on wod stock. there's a movie coming out. academy award nominated director. probably a good movie and my guess is, my prediction is, total box office failure and -- if that happens, we'll maybe be able to drive a stake through the heart of the discussions about the woodstock generation and its continuing relevance to the future. >> you're a charmer. when we come back, this question. some polls got president obama down to 50% approval. is he headed lower.
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>> what do you think? chris: welcome back. some polls have president obama town to 50% approval right now. we looked at past presidents in the first year. bill clinton got as low as 44. cart herb and reagan down to 45 and bush down to 48. our big question this week f barack obama goes lower than 50, lower than now, how damaging will it be to him? >> it is going to depend on the employment situation. if people have jobs, they will like the president. if they're out of work, they don't like him. >> he embraced the idea that crisis is opportunity but you do the hardest thing in the
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beginning of your term. he will go down a bit. but he'll come back up. chris: kathleen. >> i agree with both of them, if the economy is up, he's up. chris: marxist interpretation of history. >> a year from now, his popularity could be as low as clinton's was in 1994 and the question how bad a trouble that spells in the mid term elections. if the democrats lose 30 or 40 seats, that's go to change the rest of obama's term and what is he able to get done in the second two years. chris: thanks for the roundtable. and kathleen parker and john heilemann, that's the show. thanks for
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The Chris Matthews Show
NBC August 16, 2009 11:00am-11:30am EDT

News/Business. (2009) Journalists discuss the recession's affect on President Obama's agenda and the Woodstock Festival's lasting political impact. New. (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Kathleen 4, America 3, Barack Obama 3, Kathleen Parker 2, Woodstock 2, John Heilemann 2, Clinton 2, John Mccain 1, Vietnam 1, George W. Bush 1, Richard Stengel 1, George Bush 1, Trish Regan 1, Us 1, The Personification 1, Iraq 1, Trish 1, Pat Buchanan 1, Washington 1, Upstate New York 1
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